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"Everything Not Forbidden Is Mandatory"

Pay attention, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and everyone else who thinks that government-mandated and government-run universal health insurance is a panacea:

It's being field-tested in Massachusetts right now -- and it's not pretty.

First up, anyone who can't afford insurance on their own will be covered by a plan heavily subsidized by the state. While that sound all nice and warm and fuzzy, remember that the government has no money of its own. The only money it has is what it takes from its people. In other words, the state will pay for these people's health insurance with money it takes from them and other citizens.

Secondly, some doctors are deciding to opt out of the whole idea and move out of state. Leading the charge is New Hampshire's own Giacomo, who will soon be hanging his shingle on the right side of the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line. The state does have the power to dictate how much they will pay doctors, but the doctors have the power to say that they won't accept any state-paid patients -- or to just get the hell out of the state entirely.

I'm not sure how this will play out on a national scale, though, but the possibility of a lot of primary care physicians might decide to become specialists (where they are far less subject to pricing controls) or get out of practicing medicine altogether and go into a related field, like pure research, is certainly one that must be considered. The government can demand that doctors accept price controls, but it cannot command them to practice -- we kind of outlawed that sort of thing back during the Civil War.

Thirdly, there's the whole "you VILL have health insurance, or ELSE" mentality. Right now, of you choose to "flout the law" (to use the Boston Globe's own words) and not buy insurance, they will fine you $912 a year. This is more than four times the first year's penalty of $219.

P. J. O'Rourke summed it up in "Parliament Of Whores:" the government has, essentially, a very big stick when it comes to getting people to comply. If you don't obey, they will fine you or arrest you. If they fine you and you don't pay, they arrest you, so there's not much difference. And if you try to escape, they'll kill you.

Right now, "in the common good" and "for your own good," the state says that not only can you get affordable insurance, you MUST get it. If you don't want it, or just don't feel like proving it to the state, they'll fine you. And they'll keep fining you. If you don't pay the fine, they'll arrest you and toss you in jail.

Where you won't need health insurance, because you'll be the property of the state, and the state will be responsible for your health care.

The only difference is that the situation will be a hell of a lot more honest.


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Comments (16)

Wasn't this whole thing Mit... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

Wasn't this whole thing Mitt Romney's idea? Uh... I might remind you, GOVERNER OF MASSACHUSETTS Or do you guys forget who your ridiculous Massachusetts flip-flopper abortion-loving, gay marriage supporting, socialized medicine-enacting, front-runner is???????

No Ryan, a lot of people ha... (Below threshold)
Ted:

No Ryan, a lot of people have *not* forgotten that fact. It weighs heavily against Romney as a presidential candidate in my mind.

But since you think it's critical to note the former governor's political party, how about mentioning the legislative makeup that passed this fiasco?

Short answer, Ryan:<p... (Below threshold)

Short answer, Ryan:

No.

Longer answer:

It was the Democratic leadership that pushed like hell for this. Romney saw the way it was heading and figured if he couldn't beat it, he'd join it. He got a few minor concessions, but mainly he was riding the tiger on that deal.

Despite what he says now.

Remember, this was passed by a legislature that was 85% Democratic. One out of five Democrats could stay home, and they could STILL override any of his vetoes.

J.

Although Ryan is pretending... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Although Ryan is pretending that Mass doesn't 85% Democrat control of the legislate, making Romney somewhat moot on policy, he does raise a good point.

The false belief that the failure of the government funded/mandated medical systems around the world lay somehow in botch implementation. And somehow if we get the right people to run it, government funded/mandated medical systems will work.

The systems was doomed from the beginning. The cracks have to form somewhere and if these cracks are patched, the cracks will just develop somewhere else.

While many conservatives po... (Below threshold)

While many conservatives point to Europe's government funded health care as "not all it's cracked up to be" and say "why do we want to make the same mistake?" many liberals respond with, "We'll be able to do it better."

Well, here's the big chance to prove that on a small scale before we go all gangbusters and mandate it federally.

So far it's not so pretty is it?

Hmmm...doctors opting out o... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Hmmm...doctors opting out of a system that will force them to accept patients who don't care about themselves and be forced to accept payments for said services which won't even cover their expenses and then force them to be audited every couple of years to assure that they aren't overutilizing services?

Who wouldn't want that?

Why would that bother them?... (Below threshold)
Jack:

Why would that bother them? They already have a form of price controls from insurance companies. Insurance companies are the ones that determine pricing, not the doctors.

Local authorities tend to p... (Below threshold)
epador:

Local authorities tend to put even the worst offenders with serious health problems on probation or house confinement so they DON't have to pay for the meds and health care of convicts. So only the healthy folks who refuse to buy health insurance will remain behind bars. Ironic, huh?

"Secondly, some doctors ... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

"Secondly, some doctors are deciding to opt out of the whole idea and move out of state."
In Great Britain, in the 1970s, doctors did the same thing essentially. They left. They packed their bags and moved - to South Afica, Austrailia, New Zealand (the three favorite destinations chosen at the time by MDs leaving the UK.) And the secondary effect is new MDs coming from within the educational system. UK Medical Schools are screaming for qualified applicants - in a nation where the education is essentially free. Doctors are recruited from outside the UK - India and Pakistan are favorite recruiting areas. And if you think that won't happen here - wanna bet?

Tnanks for the mention, Jay... (Below threshold)

Tnanks for the mention, Jay. There was an interesting article from a pediatrician in Quincey, MA, in this week's New England Journal of Medicine that was written more relating to "quality" measures that are being implemented, but the comments can just as easily be applied to the "universal" healthcare that Mass. is implementing.

I can't help suspecting that underneath all these ... initiatives lies yet another scheme that will work out very well for insurers [and the government nanny types] and very badly for providers and patients...

Meanwhile, US doctors today have less and less to say about the care of their patients... Maybe I overestimate the next generation, but I can't imagine that young, creative people who are bright and talented enough to get into medical school will put up with this nonsense for very long.

Me neither.

Gee, where is Ryan now? lo... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Gee, where is Ryan now? lol.

Darn html tags. The third ... (Below threshold)

Darn html tags. The third paragraph should be italicized also.

I'm only trying to point ou... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

I'm only trying to point out that the way Romney is posturing himself these days is completely ridiculous. If it ends up being enough to win the R-nomination, it will be laid bare in the general. You don't just get to wake up one morning and completely change your whole identity just to pander to a politcal party.

"You don't just get to wake... (Below threshold)
John S:

"You don't just get to wake up one morning and completely change your whole identity just to pander to a politcal party."

Google Bill Clinton. It worked.

"Google Bill Clinton. It wo... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

"Google Bill Clinton. It worked." What the hell are you even talking about? Okay, I'll admit, I was twelve when Bill Clinton was elected president, so I don't have a strong memory of the whole Democratic primary process in '92, but I doubt it was anything like what Mitt Romney is trying to do this year.

Imagine them and manditory ... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Imagine them and manditory pitlin shots for your kids its big brother comming ino your home with a syringe and shooting your kid full of some bad potion




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